The Detroit Tigers got an extra day to cool off following a frustrating Opening Day defeat. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to take out their frustration on Easter Sunday.
Detroit will host a day-night doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates following the second rainout in three days. The teams’ Opening Day was pushed back one day because of inclement weather and Saturday’s scheduled game was also a washout.
The Tigers celebrated an apparent victory in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday when Nick Castellanos was called safe at home on JaCoby Jones‘ two-out single. After a lengthy replay review, the call was overturned and new Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected for arguing.
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Pittsburgh wound up winning 13-10 behind Gregory Polanco’s three-run homer in the 13th inning.
The Tigers were still baffled a day later that the call was overturned. They asked the league for the camera angle that showed the runner was out.
“We have the opportunity to get the picture and we’ve asked for that,” Gardenhire told the Detroit News. “We want to see what they saw. What determined it? … We only get a certain amount of views and we didn’t see anything that would overturn it. If they have another view, we would like to see it.”
What Gardenhire would like to see Sunday is a pair of victories. Detroit’s Michael Fulmer will oppose Trevor Williams in the first game. The Tigers listed the nightcap’s starter as TBA and could call up a pitcher as the designated 26th man for the doubleheader. Chad Kuhl will start the second game for the Pirates.
Fulmer, who won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2016, finished 10-12 with a 3.83 ERA last season. His season ended prematurely because of an elbow injury that required ulnar transposition surgery to reposition the nerve in his pitching elbow.
Fulmer looked sharp in the spring and tossed seven shutout innings against Atlanta in his last outing March 25. But Fulmer, who will be facing the Pirates for the first time, had concerns about his slider coming out of spring training.
“You’re never satisfied with anything,” Fulmer told MLB.com. “You’re always going to try to keep working at it. I think I’ve changed the slider grip a few times now, not that it was bad, but just trying to find that one that’s super-comfortable and still does what I want it to do.”
Williams enjoyed one of the best outings of his young career against Detroit last season. He blanked the Tigers over seven innings while allowing one hit Aug. 7.
The 25-year-old right-hander wound up 8-10 with a 4.36 ERA last season.
Kuhl had an 8-11 record and 4.35 ERA a year ago. He also won his only start against Detroit.
He was pleased with his progress in spring training.
“You grow and you change and I’ve gone through a ton of changes to figure out what works best for me,” Kuhl told MLB.com. “Just being able to do different things, work on the curveball, work on elevating the fastball more up in the zone. Having those different weapons has made me a much better player.”
Polanco will also try to keep his momentum going. He had three hits, three runs scored and four RBIs Friday.
“When I feel good, for sure I will play good,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If your body’s in the right spot, you’ve got to put your mind and your body together and go play. … The thing that I learned this year is, I know I’ve got talent. I’ve just got to put it together.”